NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 20050147593: Airport Pricing Strategies
Publication date 2003-07-01
Topics NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS), AIRPORTS, ECONOMICS, MARKET RESEARCH, MATHEMATICAL MODELS, COSTS, CONSUMERS, AIRLINE OPERATIONS, ASYMMETRY, PASSENGERS, LOADS (FORCES), Pels, Eric, Verhoef, Erik T.,
Conventional economic wisdom suggests that congestion pricing would be an appropriate response to cope with the growing congestion levels currently experienced at many airports. Several characteristics of aviation markets, however, may make naive congestion prices equal to the value of marginal travel delays a non-optimal response. This paper has developed a model of airport pricing that captures a number of these features. The model in particular reflects that airlines typically have market power and are engaged in oligopolistic competition at different sub-markets; that part of external travel delays that aircraft impose are internal to an operator and hence should not be accounted for in congestion tolls. We presented an analytical treatment for a simple bi-nodal symmetric network, which through the use of 'hyper-networks' would be readily applicable to dynamic problems (in discrete time) such as peak - off-peak differences, and some numerical exercises for the same symmetric network, which was only designed to illustrate the possible comparative static impacts of tolling, in addition to marginal equilibrium conditions as could be derived for the general model specification. Some main conclusions are that second-best optimal tolls are typically lower than what would be suggested by congestion costs alone and may even be negative, and that the toll as derived by Brueckner (2002) may not lead to an increase in total welfare. While Brueckner (2002) has made clear that congestion tolls on airports may be smaller than expected when congestion costs among aircraft are internal for a firm, our analysis adds to this that a further downward adjustment may be in order due to market power. The presence of market power (which causes prices to exceed marginal costs) may cause the pure congestion toll to be suboptimal, because the resulting decrease in demand is too high (the pure congestion tall does not take into account the decrease in consumer surplus). The various downward adjustments in welfare maximizing tolls may well cause the optimal values of these to be negative. Insofar as subsidization is considered unacceptable for whichever reason, our results warn that the most efficient among the non-negative tolls may actually be a zero toll; the pure congestion toll may actually decrease welfare compared to the base case. The model in this paper contains a few simplifying assumptions that may be relaxed in future work. Load factors and aircraft capacity are fixed in this model for simplicity. In a more advanced version of this model, load factors and aircraft capacity can be endogenized. This makes the derivation of the optimality conditions far more complicated, but it should be feasible in a numerical experiment. One can also add a fourth layer to the model, describing the airport's optimization problem. For example, the airport can maximize profits under a cost recovery constraint. The model then deals with interactions between four types of agents. No distinction is made between peak and off-peak traffic in this paper. Finally, the results of the numerical exercise in this paper need to be checked against an asymmetric equilibrium.
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